Thinking Is Stinking ? Part One

What are you thinking about when you are performing at your best in anything you do? If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that the answer is always the same. You are not thinking. You are operating on instinct!

So how do you train your mind to stop thinking in order to perform on instinct? You do it in the four stages of learning which are the unconscious incompetent, the conscious incompetent, the conscious competent, and the subconscious competent.

When you start learning a new skill, you are an unconscious incompetent. You are not even aware of what you are doing wrong.

Once you begin to become aware of what you are doing wrong, you move up to the stage of being a conscious incompetent.

Through practice and lots of mistakes, you gradually become proficient at your new skill. You know what you are doing and you can do it well. Congratulations, you are now a conscious competent and ready for the final stage of peak performance or being in the 'zone' as a subconscious competent.

This is the tricky part because a subconscious competent performs without thinking or having concern about the outcome. It's a catch 22. If you want the outcome, you can't have it because it will bring you back into thinking about the results. If you don't care about the outcome, you can have it because you mind is free to perform without fear of failure.

Once you become a subconscious competent, what keeps you from remaining there is that you forgot what got you there in the first place. In order to become a conscious competent, you gave yourself permission to fail over and over until you got it right. Now, that you are competent you expect yourself to be perfect and never fail or make a mistake

Well, it isn't going to happen, especially in golf. Golf is such a precision sport that it is mechanically impossible to repeatedly strike to ball perfectly every time. Without giving yourself permission to fail, failure to hit the perfect shot will pull you out of the zone so fast it will make your head spin. What is worse, it will make you start thinking about what went wrong and keep you from getting back into the zone.

If you dwell on your failure long enough, you will start pressing and find yourself at stage one of being an unconscious incompetent all over again. This time your incompetence will be caused by distorted brain chemistry that will rob your body from its natural flow and rhythm. You will not even know why your performance stinks. This is why it is so hard to overcome a bad case of the yips.

You have to go back to square one and give yourself permission to fail all over again. Since your skill level is very high, you may not fail very often. But, it is important to allow yourself the freedom to fail so you can stop thinking. After all, thinking is stinking.


P.S.: Did you know that there are different types of eye sight and eye coordination capabilities? When playing a round of golf over 5 or more kilometres, and having to aim every shot or stroke, seeing properly is a key element for better golf. Here is a book I have personally read and can recommend: Improve your eye coordination capabilities



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